# Solar Energy

SOLAR ENERGY

The field of solar energy is immense. Here is an introduction and a sampling of information.

What's the picture? It's a parabolic dish and stirling engine system, which concentrates sunlight to produce useful solar power (Wikipedia).

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Background information on solar energy

Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, solar photovoltaics, solar thermal electricity, solar architecture and artificial photosynthesis.

Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.

In 2011, the International Energy Agency said that "the development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating climate change, and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise. These advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely shared".

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Huge solar project in Arizona (2010), see HERE

DOE Finalizes $1.45 Billion Loan Guarantee for One of the World's Largest Solar Generation Plants Project to Generate 250 Megawatts of Renewable Power and Create Nearly 1,700 Jobs n.b. This project has been completed Washington D.C. - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced a$1.45 billion loan guarantee has been finalized for Abengoa Solar Inc.'s Solana project, the world's largest parabolic trough concentrating solar plant. Located near Gila Bend, Arizona, the 250-megawatt (MW) project is the first large-scale solar plant in the United States capable of storing energy it generates. Solana will produce enough energy to serve 70,000 households and will avoid the emissions of 475,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year compared to a natural gas burning power plant.

"As the world's largest solar plant of its kind, the Abengoa's Solana project is playing an important role in creating jobs and clean energy for Arizona as well as fostering innovation in the U.S.," said Secretary Chu. "As today's announcement and other recent announcements of completed loan guarantees for wind and solar projects demonstrate, the Department's loan program is gaining momentum, creating jobs in communities across the country while putting us on the path to a clean energy future."

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(Reuters) - Europe will import its first solar-generated electricity from North Africa within the next five years, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in an interview on Sunday. "Desertec as a whole is a vision for the next 20 to 40 years with investment of hundreds of billions of euros," said Oettinger.